Campaigning today in his homestate of Michigan, Mitt Romney stepped into the birther controversy, telling a crowd he's never been asked to prove his birthplace -- a reference to calls from conspiracy-minded folks who refuse to believe President Obama was born in Hawaii, despite the evidence.
"I love being home in this place where Ann and I were raised, where both of us were born," Romney told a crowd in Commerce, Mich. "Ann was born in Henry Ford Hospital. I was born at Harper Hospital. No one's ever asked to see my birth certificate. They know that this is the place that we were born and raised."
The Obama campaign responded with outrage, accusing Romney of embracing "the most strident voices in his party instead of standing up to them.
"It's one thing to give the stage in Tampa to Donald Trump, Sheriff Arpaio, and Kris Kobach," Obama spokesman Ben LaBolt said. "But Governor Romney's decision to directly enlist himself in the birther movement should give pause to any rational voter across America."
Obama later tweeted: @BarackObama: Song of the day: Born in the U.S.A. OFA.BO/irL3ZV. Romney later told CBS it wasn't a "swipe" at Obama, but an attempt at humor.
The AP says top Romney adviser Kevin Madden "tried to walk the comments back shortly after, saying: 'The governor has always said, and has repeatedly said, he believes the president was born here in the United States.'
"Madden said Romney did not need to apologize because he was simply drawing attention to the fact that Michigan, where he was campaigning, was the state where he himself was born and raised."
Romney has said he believes Obama when he says he was born in Hawaii, but he has not distanced himself from real estate mogul Donald Trump, who has said he's hired investigators to look into the circumstances.
Within hours, the Obama campaign was fundraising on the incident, with campaign manager Jim Messina telling donors in an email titled "A New Low for Mitt Romney," to "take a moment or two to think about that, what he's actually saying, and what it says about Mitt Romney. Then make a donation of $5 or more to re-elect Barack Obama today."